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Friday 31st July 2020

On 31st July 2020, we held our second REflect event ONLINE!

The morning session was for companies, and those in business, to learn about and understand the facts and statistics on under-representation of BAME role models and senior leaders in organisations. The speakers offered advice on how to tangibly take steps to address and fix this from within, or partner with organisations that can help.

The afternoon session was to inspire young people (18-25 years old) with talks from motivational speakers who shared their success stories to break down barriers and show them that they can be whatever they want to be with the right attitude and mindset.

Watch the videos below and hear first-hand from our incredible speakers who are all passionate about diversity and ensuring that no one is left behind.


Morning Speakers

Jacqueline de Rojas CBE

President@techUK | President@digileaders | Co-Chair@Institute of Coding

Awarded the Digital & Technology Award at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards in 2019. Included in World’s 100 most influential people in digital government 2019:

In 2018 she was presented Women in Tech Award for Advocate of the Year acknowledging her contribution to diversity and was recognised for Services to International Trade in Technology in the Queen's New Year Honours list with a CBE. She was presented with the 2017 Catherine Variety award for Science and Technology and named in Europe’s Inspiring Fifty most inspiring female role models for 2017. 2016 she was listed on Debretts 500 People of Influence and she entered the @Computerweekly Hall of Fame after being voted Computer Weekly's Most Influential Woman in IT 2015!

Ollie Folayan

Ollie is a chartered chemical engineer working in the energy industry and chairperson of the award -winning AFBE -UK Scotland and co - founder of AFBE -UK.

He graduated with a BEng in Chemical Process Engineering with Fuel Technology and then earned a Doctorate (PhD) in Fuels and Combustion. In 2018 Ollie Folayan was accepted into the Fellowship of the Institution of Chemical Engineers.

He has championed successful outreach programmes such as Making Engineering Hot, NextGen (Scotland), Transition and Real Projects and has co -authored two publications on the influence of role models in the transition from academic study to the workplace and on the sustainability of the engineering profession in the UK.

Ollie has also been involved with community initiatives through organisations such as Shell and the Royal Academy of Engineering. He is a member of the All Energy Diversity and Inclusion task group setup in 2019 by Oil and Gas UK.

Suki Sandhu OBE

Founder & CEO INvolve – The Inclusion People

In 2011, Suki established Audeliss, a global executive search firm that is levelling the playing field for women, ethnic minorities and LGBT+ people at the most senior level in business, with 65% of their appointments since 2011 being diverse candidates! He is also Founder & CEO of INvolve, a network championing diversity and inclusion in business that helps organisations to drive cultural change and create more inclusive workplaces.

Suki is a Stonewall Ambassador and launched ‘The Suki Sandhu LGBTQI Asia Fund’ to support activism in Asia. He is also Patron for The Albert Kennedy Trust and has been appointed to the Board of Directors of OutRight Action International based in NYC. He is also a Trustee for the Guild of HR Professionals and was awarded an OBE in the 2019 New Year’s Honours for Services to Diversity in Business.

Jo Foster & Isabella Mascarenhas

Diversity & Inclusion Manager The IET & VP Grass Roots RS Components

Jo is an accomplished Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) specialist with more than 9 years' experience in the profession. She currently works as the EDI Lead for the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology), one of the largest professional engineering institutions in the world

Isabella has forged a successful career in helping and developing young people from diverse backgrounds to realise their full potential and achieve their ambitions. She currently works for RS where she has the pleasure of working with students and young professionals all over the world to develop competitions, events and initiatives to enhance the employability skills and career prospects of young people.

Ambily Bannerjee

Director Global Regulatory Affairs, GSK

After a Ph.D in Molecular Biology Ambily worked as a post-doctoral scientist at Imperial College and UCL for 9 years. She joined GSK 12 years ago, in Regulatory Affairs. Within 6 years she moved into a Director role as Head of EU and EMAP of Stiefel Regulatory Affairs.

Over the last 10 months she has been the co-lead of EMBRACE Employee Resource Group and has worked with senior leaders at GSK to highlight some of the challenges faced by BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) colleagues.

Ambily was recently recognised for her inclusion in the 2020 EMpower Ethnic Minority Role Model Lists. She is also a mentor for the Women’s Leadership Initiative at GSK. She is a Mentor for Brunel University’s Widening Participation Scheme and a STEM Ambassador for several schools with a focus on removing barriers for BAME students.

Kathyrn Eastwood

EY Foundation

Kathryn Eastwood is Corporate Partnerships Leader at the EY Foundation, who are committed to breaking down barriers between young people living in poverty and meaningful employment. Kathryn works closely with employers across a range of sectors to connect them to untapped talent through EY Foundation employability programmes.

Kathryn began her career in political consultancy, working with clients in the transport, energy and infrastructure sectors. She later moved into education, firstly as a secondary school History teacher, then leading partnerships for the innovative School 21 in Stratford.

Afternoon Speakers

Yewande Akinola MBE

Innovation Lead Laing O’Rourke

Her engineering experience includes the design and construction, innovation and manufacture of buildings and systems in the built environment. She has worked on projects in the UK, Africa, the Middle East and East Asia and has been named the UK Young Woman Engineer of the Year by the Institution of Engineering & Technology.

She has also been awarded the Exceptional Achiever Award from the Association for BAME Engineers and the Association of Consultancy and Engineering, U.K. (ACE). She is a Visiting Professor at the University of Westminster. She is passionate about STEM communication and has presented Engineering programmes for Television. In the 2020 New Year Honours list, Yewande was awarded an MBE for Services to Engineering Innovation and Diversity in STEM.

Dr Ozak Esu

Technical Lead BRE

She is an award-winning chartered electronic and electrical engineer with academic research experience in embedded technology and advanced signal processing; and over six years’ experience working in building services engineering consulting and in strategic R&D in cyber-physical systems.

Shrouk El-Attar

Electronic Engineer Elvie

Shrouk was one of the top 6 IET Young Women Engineers in the UK, 2019 and is an electronics engineer at Elvie where she engineers smart tech that improve the lives of cis women and trans men. She previously worked with surgeons operating on the eye, on IoT tech at Intel, and at Fujitsu in Kawasaki, Japan.

Shrouk won the DaVinci Engineering Award, IET local PATW, named as Young Woman of the Year by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and named in the BBC list of 100 most influential women in the world.

She is a Trustee of Student Action for Refugees using her role to speak at the UK Parliament three times addressing MPs in support of a campaign she led to give asylum seekers equal access to higher education, which was adopted by 70 universities.

Navjot Sawhney

Founder of The Washing Machine Project

Founder of The Washing Machine Project Nav is using his engineering expertise and knowledge of market-ready design, development and implementation to create real change.

During the 1947 Indian Independence, Nav’s father and his family fled their home from what is now Pakistan with only the clothes on their backs. This has always been the foundation of why he wants to help people fleeing conflict.

Whether it’s building lifesaving cookstoves in rural India, being a trustee of an international development charity, Engineers Without Borders UK (EWB-UK), building clean water systems for an orphanage in Namibia or volunteering his time at a local homeless shelter for migrants in London.

With over five years of professional engineering experience at global technology companies such as Dyson and Jaguar Land Rover behind him, he is turning his attention to make a difference with The Washing Machine Project.

Jay Richards

Founder & CEO of Imagen

From a rebellious start while at school to now the Founder of Imagen and a Forbes 30under30 entrepreneur, Jay credits his Business Studies teacher at school for guiding his sense of entrepreneurship in the right direction at the right time and now aims to provide opportunities for Gen Z to shape their future.

Caxie Dagupen & Shaan Aucharagram

Caxie is halfway through her second apprenticeship doing Project Management level 4 within the Programme Operations team in WhiteHat after doing her first Business Administration level 3 apprenticeship as an Executive Assistant to the CEO at Benchmark.

She has been an advocate for apprenticeships internally within the WhiteHat community and externally through social media. She was a finalist for the BAME Apprenticeship Awards 2019 in the finance, legal and professional services category and you can read her journey on why she chose to do an apprenticeship in this article on the NCS website.

Shaan Aucharagram is also an apprentice through Whitehat and has enrolled in a Data Science Degree Apprenticeship at Santander UK and is currently working in CIB Financial Crime Analytics.

His passion for technology was ignited by helping out his family business and he has not looked back since. He is particularly interested in how data can be leveraged to improve decision making at an executive level as well as the various applications of AI (Artificial Intelligence).

Isabella Mascarenhas

VP Grass Roots RS Components

Isabella is South Indian, was raised in Zambia and came to settle in the UK when her parents relocated here leading to her fascination with different cultures.

She has forged a successful career in helping and developing young people from diverse backgrounds to realise their full potential and achieve their ambitions. Having always sought out new disruptive ways of working and engaging with her target audience, she is delighted to have found a niche where she can be a professional rebel!

She currently works for RS Components as their Vice President of Grass Roots where she has the pleasure of working with students and young professionals all over the world to develop competitions, events and initiatives to enhance the employability skills and career prospects of young people.